Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10/11 Academic Decathlon The Great Depression Art Selection #11 - Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam, Gordon Kaufmann, Nevada-Arizona Border, Concrete, Commissioned by Bureau of Reclamation, 1931-36

Herbert Hoover commissioned this public work as the Secretary of Commerce under President Harding in 1922 and it was named after him. He had a background in civil engineering and with the help of the committee designed a dam that was unprecedented between Arizona and Nevada. It's job - to harness the power of the Colorado River and manage water resources for Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming! Woah!! This thing is massive!! The concept was massive as well - it is an anti-gravity concrete dam. DemiDec says, "It combines the structure of an arch dam, the open end of which faces downstream, with the massive heft of a gravity dam." When it was completed in 1936, it was for a bit the tallest dam in the world. And, check out the new Hoover Dam Bridge that was just completed - it's a new wonder of the world as well!!

Godon Kauffman (1888-1949) was an English architect who was asked to consult on the aesthetic look of the dam. The engineers had been really focused on the function of the structure, which wasn't looking too great. Kauffman redesigned the dam to incorporate the streamlined aspects of Art Deco design. No small feat because the dam rises 726.4 feet from the base from the highway to its crest. An additional 40 feet rise from the towers and the ornamentation. There were four main areas of the dam: the intake towers, dam crest, power plant and the spillways. The dam has a strong vertical line in the intake towers at the top (which are essential to powering the plant). The entire structure is massive, powerful but elegant and stately. It's purpose was to provide flood control and provide water for seven states as well as generate electricity. President Roosevelt held the dam up as a symbol of progress. It buoyed the public and people thought that if this massive project could be created, there was hope for the country to pull out of the economic crisis.

1 comment:

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